Food storage is one of the most fundamental facets of prepping, homesteading, and self-sufficiency. You want to make sure you have your needs for water, food, and shelter covered before all else. That is basic prepping, but in this day and age, you might want to take your food storage to the next level.
To increase food storage (and take it to the next level), a lot of people (including me) really push growing your own food to help supply your food storage. You have better, more nutritious food on hand and you get back far more food than what you pay for seeds and plants. You are relying a little less on the food supply chain which also helps your budget.
Growing most if not all these foods listed below is fairly easy. You want to have good soil or use raised beds, but these vegetables do not need a lot of tender loving care to grow. You will want to keep the plants from being eaten by deer, rabbits, and other creatures until they are big enough to survive.
With cold frames or row covers, you could get two plantings and harvests from many of the root vegetables listed below. You can plant garlic in the fall for an early summer harvest and in the spring for a fall harvest. You can plant walking onions or onions sets in the fall also. I have had a lot of success from doing both.
Some people are not into canning for various reasons – time, money, intimidating, etc. You might not have the room for freezing a lot of produce. While both are worthwhile skills to learn, there are other avenues for storing food. While some of these vegetables listed can be preserved by canning or freezing, they do not have to be.
How do you store these vegetables without canning or freezing? Ideally, you would have a root cellar or a basement room that stays cool but doesn’t freeze. I will give details after each vegetable listed, but most of them just need to be kept somewhat moist and cool or dry and cool. You could store some of these in your refrigerator in the bottom drawers. Some people will be able to store them in their garages too if they are temperature-controlled and dark enough. You can also try straw-filled pits or boxes buried in your garden or yard to overwinter vegetables.
10+ Vegetables You Can Grow & Store Without Canning or Freezing
1. Rutabagas and Turnips – Brush off any dirt, but do not clean them. Store in a cool, damp place with damp paper towels around them in a bowl or other containers.
2. Beets, Carrots, and Parsnips – Brush off any dirt, but do not clean them. Store in a cool, damp place with damp paper towels around them in a bowl or other containers. They can also be stored in damp sand with sand in between the carrots and the layers. Be sure to keep the sand moist.
3. Potatoes – Harvest and let dry for a week in a single layer. They can be stored any way you want – bags, boxes, bowls, etc. – but do not store them with onions or right next to onions. They also should be stored in a cool, dark place.
4. Garlic – Let the garlic dry and cure after pulling. If you have the stems still attached, you can braid them together to hang. Otherwise, you can store them hanging in an old mesh produce bag or nylons. Garlic will store in a basket or a bowl, but be sure to check them often for spoilage.
5. Squash and Pumpkins – Harvest, clean, and let sit in a warm, dry place for a couple of weeks to toughen the skins. You can then store them in a cool, dark place or on top of your basements/root cellar shelves.
6. Onions and Shallots – Let the onions and shallots dry and cure for a few days to develop that paper skin on the outside. You can store them hanging just like garlic. Onions and shallots should not be kept in a bowl or basket because they will spoil quickly.
7. Beans – Kidney, Pinto, etc. – Let the plant and bean pods dry out completely. If you notice they are dried down a lot and rain is in the forecast, you can still pull them and spread out to dry the rest of the way. Once they are dried, you can hand shell them and store them in jars or sealed bags until ready for use. Use just like any other dried bean.
8. Brussel Sprouts – Pull the whole plant from the garden. You can wrap the stem in a damp paper towel and hang in the root cellar, basement, or garage. You can also replant in a container in your basement or root cellar to keep the plant going. Cut off the stalk as you want, but be sure to remove the big leaves off as you move up the stem to keep the plant’s energy going towards the sprouts.
9. Cabbage – Harvest with the whole plant intact. You can store in a root cellar or refrigerator, but they do like cool and moist air. You can hang them from the ceiling or you can keep them on a shelf several inches apart from each other.
10. Sweet Potatoes – Same as potatoes.
Since this is considered long-term storage for these vegetables, I have a few points for you to keep in mind:
1. Do not bother washing most of these off before storing. Brush the dirt off, look for blemishes, and store as suggested. Wash them before cooking and eating.
2. Long-term storage is a minimum of three months, but extending to six months or more for most of these vegetables if stored correctly.
3. You have to check your vegetables regularly. Once a week, at least, they should be checked.
4. Eat them up. Make them part of your meal plan every week so they do not go bad and food is wasted.
Growing your own food is not very difficult and is a skill you should learn. You can provide a lot of food with a minimal investment when you grow your own food. You can grow foods that do not require much preservation work from you. Give these a try this year and see how they work out for you!
Thanks for reading,
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